MySA’s guide to a cheap or free date night in San Antonio – mySA

While economists and politicians volley on whether we are in — or heading toward — a recession, there’s no denying wallets are hurting throughout the U.S. as prices on necessities, entertainment, and everything else is on an incline. 

Whether money is tight or you’re cutting back to prepare for the looming threat of the R word, there are still opportunities to have fun in San Antonio without breaking the bank. 

We’ve rounded up a few cheap or free hangouts around town. Some are perfect for making summer memories. 

Villa Finale, the Italianate mansion in the King William District, that is the only site in Texas owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Villa Finale, the Italianate mansion in the King William District, that is the only site in Texas owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Bob Owen /San Antonio Express-News

Take advantage of Il Forno’s hour, follow up with a walking tour through King William 

Il Forno, the Nogalitos pizza restaurant of lauded San Antonio chef Michael Sohocki, offers happy hour from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For $9.50, you can munch on a Neopolitan wood-fired pizza that should be a nice snack for two. Once the sun goes down, take a self-guided tour through the nearby historic King William neighborhood with the help of this map created by the San Antonio Conservation Society. The information provides address-specific histories on a list of homes in the area with photos so you can be sure you’re looking at the right home.  

Find it: 122 Nogalitos St, San Antonio, TX 78204

IKEA is located in Live Oak, just outside San Antonio city limits. 

IKEA is located in Live Oak, just outside San Antonio city limits. 

Khainon Adams

While we’re on the topic of homes, beat the heat and spend a day perusing housewares inside IKEA 

It’s easy to lose track of time inside the giant home store in Live Oak. If you live closer to San Antonio proper, the lengthy drive will give you and your date time to talk. Once inside the store, you can get lost in the different model rooms and, if things are serious, romanticize a home of your own. If not, there’s always reasonably priced bites to casually snack on in the cafeteria. You can spend money or be like Tom and Summer in 500 Days of Summer and wander around for free. 

Find it: 1000 IKEA-RBFCU Pkwy, Live Oak, TX 78233

The McNay's Second Thursdays are back after a two-year hiatus. 

The McNay’s Second Thursdays are back after a two-year hiatus. 

Stacey Lovett

Reunite with Second Thursdays at the McNay 

After a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the free opportunity to visit the art museum and picnic with live music is back at the McNay. Each second Thursday of the month, the museum hosts the event from 6 to 9 p.m. The evenings include free admission to the museum and access to the grounds, which usually feature live music and food trucks. 

Find it: 6000 N New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209

Hanamaru Cafe is located at 7460 Callaghan Road. 

Hanamaru Cafe is located at 7460 Callaghan Road. 

Courtesy, Hanamaru

Have a feast at Hanamaru 

The Japanese snack shop specializes in taiyaki, a waffle-like bread formed into the shape of a tai fish and stuffed with sweet or savory fillings. Hanamaru opened in April and with prices ranging from $2.85 to $3.60, you can be the fish in the sea with a creative but cheap idea. If there’s a few more dollars to spend, the shop is nearby entertainment like the new Santikos Northwest, Dave and Busters, and The Lanes at Oak Hills. 

Find it: 7460 Callaghan #333, San Antonio, TX 78229

Oasis Tavern Poolside Bar and Grill. 

Oasis Tavern Poolside Bar and Grill. 

Camille Sauers/MySA

Pick up paletas and go for a swim 

Oasis Tavern, a new private poolside bar and grill concept, recently took over the former Jefferson Swim Club/Laguna Del Rio. For a $10 cover, you and your date can enjoy a laidback atmosphere and refuge from the sun. The tavern offers a list of concessions and adult drinks, but if you want a little more time with your date, pick up paletas at nearby El Paraiso. The beloved San Antonio shop recently raised its prices by five cents but still sell for a low-low cost of 55 cents. 

Paletas from El Paraiso Ice Cream.
Paletas from El Paraiso Ice Cream.Mike Sutter /San Antonio Express-News

Find it: 1409 Donaldson Ave, San Antonio, TX 78228

SoundCream Sunset Sessions are popular at Pearl.

SoundCream Sunset Sessions are popular at Pearl.

B. Kay Richter, for mySA.com

Grab a drink at Pearl and walk around 

Whether it’s Soundcream Thursdays or people watching, there’s always something happening at Pearl. Pickup a coffee at Local or Bakery Lorraine or a cocktail at Park Bar or Southerleigh and walk and talk around the property. If you’re reading this closer to the holidays, consider finding a spot at the riverside park and take in the tree lights with a warm drink in hand. 

Find it: 303 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215

Cool Crest Mini Golf has been a part of San Antonio for nearly 100 years. 

Cool Crest Mini Golf has been a part of San Antonio for nearly 100 years. 

Express-News file photo

Take a step back in history and a swing at Cool Crest Mini Golf then enjoy the night at the adjoining Metzger Biergarten

The nearly century-old Cool Crest Mini Golf is still up and running. For $10 per person (adult pricing) you and your date can compete on the beloved course then enjoy live music and snack on food truck eats at the connecting biergarten. 

Find it: 1402 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201

The first phase 1 of the San Antonio Street Art Initiative is at the Interstate 35 underpass where Quincy and St. Mary's streets meet.

The first phase 1 of the San Antonio Street Art Initiative is at the Interstate 35 underpass where Quincy and St. Mary’s streets meet.

Courtesy, San Antonio Street Art Initiative

Journey through San Antonio’s mural scene

The San Antonio Street Art Initiative provides digital maps for each of its phases in the downtown area. The sprawling outdoor art gallery has murals at the SASAI Pillars at the underpass at Interstate 35 and St. Mary’s and on the St. Mary’s Strip. If you end up on the Strip, spend a few dollars playing arcade games at Slackers. 

Find it: N St. Mary’s St & E Quincy St, San Antonio, TX 78215

Here’s a map for all the San Antonio spots for a cheap/free date:

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